Has the gym membership you bought five years ago never been used? Does the thought of lifting weights make your arms tremble? If you answered yes to either question, you’re probably not a regular at the Pilates studio, and that’s okay. For those who are complete novices in the fitness realm, it can be intimating to make that initial trip to the gym or attempt lifting that leaden dumbbell. But as with any journey, your fitness journey begins with you taking some simple steps. The following workout tips for beginners can help you make a positive lifestyle change today.
1. Set attainable goals
While you might aspire to drop 50 lbs in the coming months or complete a marathon one day, it’s best to start small if you’re a fitness newbie. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do within a given time frame, even if the pace is slower than you would like. Realize that losing weight or getting into shape is going to be hard work; there is no fast fitness fix. You’re going to sweat; you’re going to hurt, but in the end it will be worth it.
2. Choose the right gear
If you’re not a fitness fanatic, your workout wardrobe might consist of heavy cotton T-shirts, sweatpants and old sneakers. But if you’re ready to make exercise part of your regular routine, it’s important to invest in well-made exercise attire, like moisture-wicking clothing, breathable fabrics and supportive undergarments. You should also never skimp on proper footwear, which is crucial for preventing injury. Splurging on gear now will pay off later.
3. Make time
I’m just too busy. It’s one of the most common excuses for not exercising regularly. If you’ve used this defense before, it’s time to create a workout schedule and stick to it. Perhaps you can dedicate 30 minutes of your time to exercise in the evenings. Maybe you need to wake up earlier to get fitness into your daily routine. Create the schedule that works best for you, keeping in mind that your health should be a priority.
4. Take care of your body
Staying healthy and energized requires a wellness plan outside of your workout. That includes drinking lots of water, getting plenty of sleep, and eating nutritious, well-balanced meals. Exercise alone will not help you achieve your weight loss or fitness goals. The food you put on your plate is equally as important as the plates you put on your barbell.
5. Try everything
If you’re new to exercising, then you don’t know which fitness philosophy you like best. It’s a good idea to check out as many workout programs as you can — from Yoga, to CrossFit, to HIIT, to functional training, and so many more. Make sure to go slowly, however, so that you don’t overextend yourself — you’ll have plenty of opportunities to test out training methods and combine those that you enjoy.
6. Find a friend
Group accountability is a great way to ensure that you stick with your fitness routine. This could mean exercising with a friend or spouse, or merely checking in with that person to discuss progress and goals. Social support will encourage you to keep working out and you won’t want to cancel on a training session if your know your best friend is going to be there.
7. Don’t compare
With images of buff bodies plastered on billboards and magazine covers it’s easy to compare yourself with Abercrombie models’ airbrushed abs. But doing so can destroy your self-image and negate the progress you’ve made. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is the former you and feeling proud of what you’ve accomplished by taking up regular exercise.
8. Be aware
Listen to your body. If you’re new to working out, you might be more susceptible to injuries and soreness. Don’t push yourself too hard. It’s important to take breaks, too. If you have preexisting medical conditions, or are obese or overweight, it’s wise to talk to your doctor about any precautions you should take while exercising.
9. Do your homework
Nowadays, many of us consult Yelp before choosing a restaurant or read Rotten Tomatoes before watching a movie. Do your research before working out for the first time so that you know what you’re getting into. This blog is just one of the many resources available online that will help you start your fitness journey.
10. Consult a professional
The best way to start working out if you’re a beginner is to get help from someone who teaches people how to exercise for a living. Start working with a certified personal trainer who can get you on the right track toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular fitness routine. But remember, the first step starts with you.